so i’ve been a little behind in my posts of books, and here’s one for now at least. when i first chose this book, ReChurch by Stephen Mansfield, i was quite interested to see what it had to say. there’s been a lot to say about the ‘de-churched’ for quite a while now, but i’ve had the fortune over the last few years of being in contact with some folks who have walked away from the church due to pains or hurts, and seen them return after a time of healing. it seems to me that (especially in the Canadian context of the Church) the folks who walk away from the Church need just as much of our attention, if not more.
my own experience of serving in churches over the last decade has been that there is little growth in terms of numbers, but there’s also been little decrease too. the churches that i’ve been a part of have been more split between two different groups of people: first, there’s the group of people who have ‘been around’ for what seems like forever, people who have committed to the church and love being in that particular community for whatever their reason may be. second, there is a group of folks who are more transient, moving between churches (sometimes in new towns due to work changes) as they get ‘bored’ or complacent or downright offended in their experience as they look for a place to call ‘home’.
i’ve always been of the opinion that if you’re going to get hurt as a Christian, it’s probably going to be in a local church. and its probably going to be in a group of people that you’ve grown to love. it’s going to happen because the Church is made up of a bunch of people just like you and me – hurt and broken. and when hurt and broken people get together, its inevitable that they will hurt and break one another.
the thing i loved about this book is what it had to say about both the local church or people doing the hurting as much as it said about the people being hurt. Mansfield did a great job of saying that both parties are part of the hurt and both parties need to commit to each other to grow through the hurt. being part of the church isn’t about what we ‘get’ from the church, it’s about what we ‘give’ to it. as we give, we find that we have strength given to us by God, and as we live our lives honestly with the people around us (even when we inevitably hurt them) we begin to find that God uses our little communities to do far greater things than we could ever imagine.
i give this book 4 out of 5 stars, and i definitely recommend it to anyone who’s been around any church for any length of time. church leaders should especially be reading this.
disclaimer: i was given this book in exchange for a review by the Tyndale Blog Network, and i haven’t been paid for this review, which means i get to say what i want to about it.